Boy Scouts of America® and Lemelson-MIT Program Introduce Inventing Merit Badge

The Boy Scouts of America, in collaboration with the Lemelson-MIT Program, announced the Inventing merit badge designed to encourage Scouts to be inventive and solve real-world problems.

Boy Scouts Merit Badge

Cambridge, Massachusetts (June 17, 2010) –The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), in collaboration with the Lemelson-MIT Program, today announced the introduction of the Inventing merit badge, designed to encourage Scouts to be inventive and solve real-world problems. The new merit badge will provide Boy Scouts with an understanding of the impact and importance of inventive thinking and doing.

“Throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s rich, 100-year history, merit badges have given Scouts an opportunity to experience and learn about a variety of hobbies and professions. We are very excited about the Inventing merit badge and what the future holds as Scouts use the tools learned while working on the requirements to change the world,” said Robert J. Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “The Boy Scouts are extremely fortunate to partner with the Lemelson-MIT Program in the development of this merit badge. Their hands-on approach to learning, combined with their InvenTeam grants initiative, will continue to inspire youth to lead creative lives through inventing.”

The Inventing merit badge will be awarded for the first time Thursday, June 17, at EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that celebrates the inventive spirit. As part of the formal awards ceremony, commemorative Inventing merit badges will be presented to several Distinguished Eagle Scouts, all inventors associated with MIT, including:

  • Kim Vandiver, dean for undergraduate research and professor of mechanical and oceanic engineering at MIT; Edward Crawley, the Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT; and
  • Elmer C. “Neil” Lupton, president and CEO of NEMOmetrics Corporation and vice president of the BSA’s Boston Minuteman Council.

These honorees are exemplary role models who inspire today’s youth by setting an example of how inventive thinking can solve a problem and have an impact on the world. Scouts who have earned the Inventing merit badge from councils local to MIT will be honored at the ceremony as well.

“Scouts represent a new generation of inventors, and we’re honored that they are embracing the significance of inventing,” says Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “It’s crucial that we empower our nation’s youth to explore their ideas that can have an impact on their community. The technical skills and discovery process that come with earning this merit badge will teach them that they can invent solutions for today’s problems. Their solutions may help people live healthier, more productive, and more engaging lives.”

“My experience in both my Eagle Scout and InvenTeam projects have helped me realize that I will not be satisfied with a career unless it allows me to help others,” said Harris Ramm, a 2010 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam member from Omaha Benson High School and Eagle Scout from Troop 558 in Nebraska. “My Boy Scout experience instilled in me a strong desire to serve my community, my country, and the world. My experience on an InvenTeam has shown me a path to that goal. Engineering and inventing are excellent ways to improve the lives of others. A single invention can change the world, and that is what I hope to do.”